Philosophical Frankenstein

It’s remarkable how much philosophy, psychology and social science you can glean from a ¬† Horror story!

Short Summary of the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley:

Scientist Victor Frankenstein, whose god is science, wants to give life to a being like himself, only more perfect.

However, his creation is NOT the perfect specimen he imagined, BUT and ugly creature that he rejects and so does mankind.

The monster resents being rejected by everybody and with no help from his creator, he seeks revenge through killing and terror.


What are the philosophical themes?

Tampering with nature, taking no responsibility for your creation and the need for love and nurturing so as to survive in a rough world.

Frankenstein was obsessed with the need to create life.

He took on the role of God.

He had the desire to break scientific boundaries.


Frankenstein is a cautionary tale for the Present.

Scientists today need to take proper treatment of the organisms they create. They need to be supervised by monitoring agencies.

Frankenstein is a tale of ethics concerning scientific research in the fields of life extension, cloning and artificial intelligence.


Frankenstein should have nurtured his creation with love.

He should of given his creation a name and welcomed him into the world. Things would have turned out different if he took responsibility.

Was Frankenstein’s monster evil or just a victim of his creator’s ineptness?

Some say, there is good and there is evil, there is no gray area.

But life isn’t that tidy!

Life experience involves mixing and blending of characteristics.

Shelley, in writing her story, draws on the idea that people are born good and evil comes later, the result of the corruption that society inflicts.

The monster, at the start, is a decent, helpful, innocent and naive person.

But when he is rejected by his creator and society, he is forced to live in isolation.

He becomes evil because of his circumstances.

If corrupt society is the source of evil, you will have to put in place the right kind of society to reduce the chances of evil.

What is the right kind of society???


Frankenstein also has some Freudian connections:

The Id represents the primal demands and needs of humans.

For Frankenstein, he has the need to create that ends up with a monster.

This is his Id at work.

There is always the conflict between the creator and the created, which is the conflict between the Ego and the Id.

The monster represents the Id and Frankenstein, the creator, has a responsibility to give some sense of conscience, or Ego, upon his creation.

The conflict between Ego and Id feeds Frankenstein’s repulsion to the monster to the point that he can’t stand the sight of his own creation.

So the Id is the fall of both Frankenstein and his monster.

So there can be a mixture of good and evil in human nature.


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